This book is about relations between literature, society and politics in the Arab world. It is an attempt to come to terms with the changing conceptualizations of the political in Arabic literature in recent modern history. It examines historical and contemporary conceptions of literary commitment (iltizām) and how notions of 'writing with a cause' have been shaped, contested, re-actualized since the 1940s until today. Against the backdrop of the current social and political transformations in the Arab world, questions on the role of the arts, specifically literature and its politics, arise with immediacy and require profound reflection and analysis.
The chapters reexamine critically both current and historical notions of the political in modern Arab literature as well as the legacy of iltizām as a term and an agenda.
Literary commitment is understood here not just solely as a (completed) period in Arabic literary history but also as a vivid, changing and continuing idea that questions the role of literature and the author in and for a society.